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Saturday, February 20, 1999 Published at 02:53 GMT

World: Europe

Blair again backs genetically modified foods

The British prime minister, Tony Blair, has again defended the use of genetically modified food saying there's no scientific evidence to justify its banning.

Writing in the DAILY TELEGRAPH newspaper, Mr Blair hailed biotechnology as the revolutionary science of the twenty-first century and said that if Britain were to place a ban on trials of genetically modified crops, it would jeopardise its leading position in biotechnology. However, correspondents say he tried to allay public fears by adding that no genuine evidence of risk would be ignored. Mr Blair's comments come a day after a letter was issued by five senior ministers to all members of parliament explaining why the government was not prepared to ban crop trials.

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